November 4, 2021
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. We've talked about it, a lot of recovery for all of us. And when it comes to recovery for all of us, it means working people need to be able to live in this city, to be able to move forward out of this pandemic, to be able to live a good life. This is what it's always been about in New York City. And we've been over these last eight years, trying in every way to uplift working people and help them move forward, help really make sure that people have what they need. Some New Yorkers have really suffered a lot over recent years and our taxi drivers have been right in the middle of a very, very difficult situation. I have to say, when you think about this city, you think about the heart and soul of the city, you think about working people, taxi drivers play a special role in the life of the city, the history of the city. And we know a lot has happened in many, many challenges. And we know that working people have stepped up and made clear what they need and what their concerns are. And they've asked us to work with them throughout.
I want to today announce something that's a real step forward and it is a victory for working people. And I want to commend the taxi drivers who over these last years have organized, have put forward ideas, proposals, have stepped up and said we need help, here's how we want to do it. Over the years, there've been many discussions. Sometimes we found a way forward. Sometimes there were moments where there were impasses or disconnects. But something very special has happened in the last week. And I want to give credit to everyone involved, honestly, because, when something works, there's many, many authors. But there's one author who deserves particular credit. We're going to hear from him in a moment. Senator Schumer really led the way here. We needed someone respected by all, trusted by all to help bring everyone together. And he played an absolutely essential role in finding a solution. We're going to hear from him. But I want to say, everyone here, I really feel very, very powerfully that we got here in large measure because of Senator Chuck Schumer. But I want to thank the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. You'll hear from their leader in a moment. I want to thank them for all they've done on behalf of the drivers on behalf of working people. I want to thank the folks at the Taxi and Limousine Commission who have worked hard to find solutions. Also, the largest medallion lender was a part of this, Marblegate Asset Management.
When everyone came together, we found a way to supplement our existing medallion relief program. And now, we have a City-funded deficiency guarantee that will allow us to do so much more for drivers to reduce the principal on loans, to lower the monthly payment. We had already put in $65 million in the existing program. We're adding more. And we know the existing program showed us that something could really make a difference for drivers, already helped over 200 drivers and achieve $23 million in debt forgiveness. But – and that's only been in the last few weeks, but we know there was more to do. And that spirit of being willing to think together about how to do better, how to go farther, that's what got us here. Under this agreement, drivers will experience real substantial debt relief. It will allow them to move forward. These drivers deserve our respect, our appreciation as all New Yorkers. And now, I want to express my appreciation as well and my profound respect for our next speaker. He said to everyone, we can work through this. He used his influence, the role he plays in this city, this state, this nation – he stepped forward and said we can fix this. And he is the reason it got fixed. Another really great victory and all thanks due to our Senior Senator, Majority Leader of the United States Senate Senator Chuck Schumer.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: Well, thank you, Mayor. And I very much appreciate the nice words and let me return the compliment. We had – you know, there was an impasse, as we know, for a long time, but when I got on the phone and called the Mayor and said, I think there's a way out, he was very eager to come up with a way out. And we did, and I'll get into the details, but the Mayor really stepped up to the plate. He didn't let previous positions stand in his way. His goal was to help the taxi drivers and we did. So, first, let me say to the taxi drivers, to NYTWA, their membership, to Bhairavi, thank you, thank you, thank you. You persisted. You persisted. You persisted. Without you, this wouldn't have happened. I know how taxi drivers struggle. My father-in-law was a cab driver, Cloverdale 84. And so, I know how difficult a job it is and how you have to work such long hours to pay back the loans for the medallion, how it's difficult in so many ways.
So, I've been working with TWA and with Bhairavi for a long time. And what happened was basically this. When I – the Mayor and I worked long and hard together to get more money from the City in the AARP bill, and we did get $6 billion. And the Mayor generously – when I got the money, I called him and I said some of this, a small amount out of $6 billion, obviously, most of it should keep City workers employed, should go to help the taxi drivers. The initial settlement that they came up with didn't really meet the needs of the taxi drivers, although it was a great foundation and a very good start. But there was an impasse. And the basic impasse was over whether there should be a backstop, and that was not an easy thing to put together, because you have lenders, you had the drivers, you had a lot of debt. And so, when I called the Mayor about two, three weeks ago, my theme was from the Beatles song – we can work it. I guess I could keep going – life is much too short and there's no time, but I'll stop there. In any case –
Mayor: You could do the whole song for us.
Majority Leader Schumer: [Inaudible] audience in a minute, Mayor. But, in any case, so Dean Fuleihan came in. I knew him from a long time ago. I had a lot of respect for them. Bhairavi and the TWA came in. Eventually, we brought in Marblegate, the lenders, and we've come up with a solution. It's still – the taxi drivers are going to have to pay a lot of money each month, but it'll be at least money they can afford. The old – you know, under the old days with the lenders and the – some of these lenders took very great advantage of our taxi drivers – they had loans they couldn't pay, their homes were being foreclosed, they couldn't feed their families. I had a very emotional moment where I was with one of the local officials who has been instrumental in this, Zohran Mamdani. He's been fabulous. He was on the hunger strike as well. And we did a drive with a man named Mr. Chow, and he told me his brother had just killed himself because he couldn't pay the mortgage, his family was being kicked out of the house, and they were humiliated. It was so moving to me, knowing how taxi drivers struggled.
And so, now everyone, you know, they’ve got pay a lot of money, but at least there's some economic justice. It was Richard Chow I met with whose brother who committed suicide. I think his brother's name was Edward. I'm not sure. But, in any case, there is now some economic justice here, because these cab drivers work so hard. They’re so much part of America. And there's so much part of New York. They're part of the American dream, but they're also part of New York. Those yellow camps are a symbol of New York around the country, around the world. And if they were to go away, we’d lose something. They would each lose something – of course, hardworking people trying to climb up that ladder as part of the American dream – but so would our city, without the drivers.
So, it's great we have a solution. It's a solution that will allow the cab drivers to keep driving to pay off their debts in a fair-minded way. And again, I want to thank the Mayor and I want to thank the cab drivers. I want to thank the fortitude of those who went on the hunger strike just to show the pain they were in, because the pain they were in – as great as not eating and not being able to eat. And now, we'll have this going. So, I was happy to play a role to bring the parties together, to say that we can work this out, which we did. I salute the Mayor. The Mayor always had the interest of the cab drivers in mind. And as soon as I talked to him and told him why I thought the backstop was a better solution, he jumped to it, put Dean on the case, and, within a few weeks, we basically came up with a solution. The joy I had yesterday, I was in [inaudible] Washington of talking to the hunger strikers and telling them that the strike is over and praising them for what they did was a great moment amidst all the trouble in Washington. It was a very, very big, bright spot.
So, Mayor, thank you. I am going to have to run. I have to give a speech on the floor of the Senate. But if there are questions for me, maybe I can come back – because you don't do the questions now, right Mayor?
Mayor: Yeah, we do them after. And you're always welcome back. And I just want to say to you, Senator – I just want to say, life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting, my friends.
Majority Leader Schumer: You finished the line.
Mayor: I wanted to bring it home for you. But thank you, thank you, thank you. You were the essential element. This is a – this is what we call a mitzvah in Brooklyn. Thank you very much and come back anytime you like.
Majority Leader Schumer: Yeah, no, if I have time to come back when there's Q-and-A, I will. Okay. Thank you, Mayor.
Mayor: Take care. Well, there's a lot of people who deserve things, but I want you to hear now from someone who has really devoted her life to working people. You know, to pick up on the Beatles song, this is a city full of life, full of passion, and people have strong views, but, you know what, even sometimes when we can't find each other or we don't always agree, we also remember the common views, the common goals, the common heart. Sometimes we have stood together. And I have to say about Bhairavi Desai, when she's your ally, she is an amazing ally. And we fought for a minimum wage for drivers and we achieved that minimum wage. And that minimum wage here in New York City sent a message all around the country, all around the world that drivers deserve respect, that there can't be a race to the bottom when it comes to the taxis, for-hire vehicles, which is what we saw happening here and in too many places. So, there's been times when we have been shoulder-to-shoulder, and we always share those bigger values. But there's also been times when we just couldn't see eye to eye. In the end though, as we started, all of us, talking more, looking for common ground, there was a lot of common ground and it really derives from that belief in working people.
Bhairavi has devoted her life passionately to taxi workers. It has made a big difference in this town and her voice has mattered. And her organizing skill and bringing out the voices of almost 15,000 taxi drivers that did ultimately help us get to a powerful and positive solution. So, it is good to sit at this table with you in mutual success. My pleasure to introduce the Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Bhairavi Desai.
Mayor: Thank you. And congratulations. And again, deep honor – your love for the people you represent is quite clear. And I admire that and appreciate that. And, you know, we got together to someplace very good for the whole people of New York City, because, you're right, people feel so much and really feel deep warmth for the taxi drivers of the city. And to all the drivers, congratulations. We can move forward together in a positive way. And to a lot of drivers, and to you, Happy Diwali. I think the timing is impeccable.
So, let me also thank, as Bhairavi said, appreciation to all the elected officials who got involved. I want to note, too, in addition to the extraordinary leadership of Senator Schumer, that really sparked everything, I want to thank Congress Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She and I had a number of talks about how to solve this. She played a central role in identifying solutions and working with everyone. Also, State Senator Jessica Ramos, who kept saying to me and my team, and she originally comes from this team, that there were other solutions, that if we looked closely together we could find a new path, and it didn't have to be loggerheads, but there were other alternatives. And so, to the Congress Member, to the State Senator, your voices has played a big role in helping us see a way forward. Thank you both very much. And let me thank everyone at the TLC. Aloysee Heredia, the chair and all the staff that put a lot of time into the original plan, which, as I mentioned, is already serving a lot of drivers and forms a foundation for the additions we're putting in here. A lot of hard work to get to a plan that could reach people. And now, more work to make it go farther. And yes, implement now, now, now – this is something that's really important. We want to reach people immediately. So, thank you to everyone at TLC. And then, the team here in City Hall. Senator Schumer mentioned Dean Fuleihan, our First Deputy Mayor, played an absolutely crucial role. Our OMB Director Jacques Jiha had a lot of the specific ideas and the insight that got us forward. And from the City Hall team, a number of people, but special, thanks to Lydon Sleeper, to Gabe Schnake Mahl. Others if I'm failing to mention, I thank you all, because I know this was a real collective effort. But it all – it all was worth it. And thank you, everyone. Thank you for sticking with it.
Now, speaking of sticking with it, we are sticking with it when it comes to fighting COVID and overcoming COVID once and for all. And sticking with it when it comes to vaccination. Vaccination is the key to our recovery. And now, the day is here. We've been waiting for this day. This is a double good news day. Our five- to 11-year-olds get vaccinated, starting today with the Pfizer vaccine. This is just wonderful. It's going to mean a lot of kids will be even safer, families safer ahead of the holidays. Today, our City sites are open right now, open for business. Five- to 11-year-olds can get vaccinated. Any parent hearing me right now who wants to go get your child vaccinated, go right now – go to nyc.gov/vaccinefinder. Make an appointment. Appointments are always the best, because it guarantees you're not going to be waiting. But if you want to walk in, you can walk in at those City sites right now as well, whatever works best for you. Good news, kids are eligible for the $100 vaccine incentive. So, we really want kids to take advantage, families take advantage of that. Everyone could use a little more money around the holidays. But, most importantly, we want our kids and our families to be safe.
We have done a lot of outreach already. We're going to be doing a lot more in the next few weeks. And just to give you an example, you'll see here the kind of outreach New York City has done over the last weeks of the vaccine effort in general – millions of emails, texts, calls that have made a big, big difference, reaching people, helping them know what's going on, helping connect them to sites. This is one of the reasons the vaccine effort in New York City has been so strong, constant outreach. We're going to keep doing that with parents, with families so we can get all our youngest New Yorkers vaccinated.
Now, parents or guardians who want to talk about this, want to ask questions, want to talk to a medical provider – you can call 212-COVID-19 – 212-COVID-19. That line is operated by our Test and Trace Corps. Thank you to everyone at Test and Trace, you've been heroes of fighting back COVID. Any parent can get questions there. Or, if you need to, talk to a health care professional, they'll connect you to one. So, this is moving now, now, now. This is going to have a big impact right now. And starting Monday, school vaccine sites. Every school with kids in the five- to 11-year-old range will have a site at least one day in the next days from Monday the 8th, on. We want to give this other alternative, because, for some parents, that's going to make it a lot easier. If you want to find out when your school's going to have an in-school vaccination site, go to schools.nyc.gov/COVID-19. And that will be going on from Monday, November 8th to November – Monday, November 15th. Each school, again, will have at least one day – one day per school, a great alternative for lot of families.
I want you to hear from two people who are leading this effort and they are really happy about this day. First, of course, our doctor, our Health Commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi.
Commissioner Dave Chokshi, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Thank you so much, Mr. Mayor. Well, today is a great day. I know parents and caregivers at the playground, on the sidelines of soccer games, and after dance recitals are talking about the COVID-19 vaccine for their five- to 11-year-olds. Many have been anxiously awaiting the moment they can take their children to get vaccinated. So, today, is a good day, because their wait is finally over. And I really love to see that kids are excited too. They've endured so much during the pandemic, and now it's their turn to have the same protection as grownups and teens, albeit in a kid-sized dose.
So, you can go to nyc.gov/vaccinefinder, or call 877-VAX-4NYC to find those five- to 11-year-old vaccination locations in all five boroughs. This includes City sites, pharmacies, and clinics. The Health Department has been working with about a 1,500 pediatricians and family doctors to prepare for this phase of our historic vaccination campaign. Citywide, we expect to receive our full initial order, that's over 330,000 doses over the next few days. And, starting next week, every public school with students ages five to 11 will host those one-day vaccination clinics.
I've heard from a lot of eager parents, but also from parents who do still have questions. And I know this comes from their instinct to always protect our children. To them, I want to say, the vaccine for five- to 11-year-olds is safe and effective. It's strongly recommended by our nation's leading scientists based on data showing that the Pfizer vaccine is over 90 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19. This was at a time when the Delta variant was circulating. But still, if you do have any concerns, talk to someone that you trust – a pharmacist, a nurse, or a doctor. And, as the Mayor mentioned, you can also call our parent hotline via 212-COVID-19 to speak to a health care professional about specific questions you may have.
So, here's the bottom line – I strongly encourage parents and caregivers to get your children vaccinated as soon as possible. Based on the CDC presentation this week, if we were to vaccinate every New Yorker aged five to 11, we would prevent an estimated 38,000 cases of COVID-19. And remember, that some of these infections also result in hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and long-term effects from COVID-19, like shortness of breath and brain fog. With the vaccine, we have a chance to make COVID-19 largely a vaccine preventable disease among kids, similar to chicken pox, rubella, and rotavirus – all diseases for which childhood immunization is now routine. So, let's do the same for COVID-19.
Mr. Mayor, I'll end by saying Happy Diwali to all those celebrating. It is a festival of lights, as you know, and I can't think of a better way to eliminate our future than by kicking off vaccination for our city's kids. Thank you.
Mayor: Amen. Well said, as always, Dave. Thank you. Now, I want you to hear from our Schools Chancellor, and I know she is really, really excited about this day. She's a mom herself with a child in our public schools, but she also is always looking out for the health and welfare of a million kids. So, she's done an extraordinary job, keeping our schools safe and this is the last piece we've been waiting for to make them even safer. My great pleasure to introduce our Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter.
Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter: Thank you, Mayor de Blasio. And I want to start off where Dr. Chokshi left off. I want to wish everyone a happy and safe Diwali to everyone celebrating. And what a gift today is. You know, all I can think of is, at last – at last, nearly every member of our school communities has access to this lifesaving vaccine. At last, parents can be confident that when their babies leave the house each morning, they have this powerful layer of protection against this disease. At last, we can take the final step in our mission of reopening our schools as strong and safe as possible. Nothing is more important than the safety about children, which is why our school staff has been putting in hours day-in and day-out to make our school some of the safest places to be in this pandemic. Their work, keeping students and staff safe is evidenced by our school's extremely low and continually decreasing positivity rates. Still, our safety measures have come with some necessary policies to keep all of our students healthy, such as unvaccinated students who come into close contact with positive cases needing to quarantine out of an abundance of caution. Vaccinations for our teens, however, has meant uninterrupted, continuous instruction this year. It has meant safe extracurriculars and sports. And now, with access to vaccines for five- to 11-year-olds, an added layer – has added a layer of safety that they ensure our youngest students too will have access to uninterrupted education and time in school, which they absolutely need.
If you have questions about the vaccine, seek out a trusted health professional to get your questions answered. As a parent, I've had deeply meaningful discussions with my children and my other family members about the importance of these vaccines. We've talked about how important they are to bring our family back together and all of our families together. If you don't have time to speak with your doctor at your school, when they are hosting a vaccine clinic in the coming days, and a health professional will be on the end to answer questions and provide this lifesaving vaccine. No one wants you to baby safely in school more than our schools and educators. Anything we can do to ensure our students have more time reading, playing, doing math and exploring the world is well worth this lifesaving extra step. So, I urge you to get your child vaccinated as soon as possible. Do it for their health, for their education, for their peers, and, more importantly, for the restoration of all of our communities. Thank you, so much.
Mayor: Thank you very, very much Chancellor. I can hear the enthusiasm in your voice and this day has finally come. And now, I want you to hear from some experts who really, really have been working on this issue and waiting for this moment, but they’re also voices we need to hear to help parents understand why this is the smart thing, the right thing to do for your kids. First of all, a leader among the people that parents listened to the most, pediatricians. He's the President of the New York State Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. My pleasure to introduce Dr. Jesse Hackell.
Mayor: Thank you so much, doctor. A very powerful message and exactly what we need parents to hear. And now everyone, I want you to hear from another voice, a doctor who really of all the people I've heard talk about, is one of the people who speaks most clearly both from the big picture perspective and that's from the work she did on key policy issues at the White House under President Obama, it’s the work she is doing now as a fellow at the Brookings Institution, particularly focusing on COVID and how we overcome it. But she's also a primary care physician. So, she speaks from an extraordinary perspective. My great pleasure to introduce Dr. Kavita Patel.
Thank you so much, doctor. I appreciate – you have the extraordinary ability to communicate from the perspective of, you know, everyday life that people are living in, really helping people to understand. And I really appreciate the last point. You know, yes, knowledge triumphs, science triumphs, we move forward. So, thank you for the great work you're doing. And I appreciate your enthusiasm because something special is happening here. Thank you so much. Everyone. I want to hear from one more person that – he's also got really great perspective on this because he was for years and years, a teacher. And he is also a parent of young kids and understands what a watershed moment this is, historic day this is for our city, that our youngest New Yorkers can now get vaccinated. I want you to hear from the Bronx, Council Member Eric Dinowitz.
Thank you so much, Council Member. I love what you said, and you always speak from the heart and that last point about let's imagine that day – that's a beautiful thought – some of the diseases that caused so much pain in past generations, they're essentially gone. Let's fight that fight again. Let's get to that place. Let's defeat COVID. Thank you so much for being a part of this effort.
Council Member Eric Dinowitz: Thank you.
Mayor: All right, let's go to our indicators and this shows how we're defeating COVID. Doses administered to date 12,113,400 – amazing number. And then number two, daily number of people admitted to New York City hospitals for suspected COVID-19, today's report is 103 patients, confirmed positivity is 15.74 percent. Hospitalization rate is 0.53 per 100,000. It's still really good there because everyone's getting vaccinated. Number three, new reported cases on a seven-day average, today's report, 579 cases. Let me do a few words in Spanish, of course, about reaching our youngest children with the vaccine.
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
With that, let's turn to our colleagues in the media, and please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.
Moderator: We'll now begin our Q-and-A. As a reminder, we're joined today by Dr. Chokshi, by Chancellor Porter, by Budget Director Jacques Jiha, by FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro, by Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson, and by Senior Advisor Dr. Jay Varma. The first question today goes to Dave Evans from WABC.
Question: Hey, Mayor. Can you hear me?
Mayor: Yeah, Dave. How are you doing?
Question: I’m okay. Hey, I wanted to ask you, and also Commissioner Nigro, I was just handed a map yesterday and it talked about the area of Park Slope, East Flatbush, Flatbush, and it talked about Engine 249 and Engine 310 closed, Engine, I think, 248, maybe understaffed. And there was a four-alarm fire there. So, I'm just looking for a lay of the land, not just in that area, but across the city. Are we seeing fires grow to multiple fires because we are seeing some of these engine companies closed and a lack of manpower?
Mayor: So, Dave, first of all, I don't know where you got the map. I think a lot of information is being put out, much of it is misinformation by folks who have a particular axe to grind. That's just the truth. There's been efforts to say, look, this is closed and here's the impact. When, in fact, every time you go to the Fire Department, as we're about to hear directly from the Commissioner, you hear the truth. The truth, firehouses open across the board. The truth, response time, normal. The members of the FDNY who are showing up at work, doing their job, I want to thank them for the great job they're doing. And really what they deserve is for everyone else to come to work and help them do that work. But what we have seen is very, very consistent, effective response to fires throughout. So, now, to Commissioner Nigro about the specifics – you speak about the general picture, but also the specifics of what Dave just raised.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro: Sure. And, Dave, is thinking about the same things we're thinking about, how is staffing affecting our performance? So, we're very, very careful looking at our response time. How has the response time been this past week as opposed to any other time in our history? And it's been fine. Our staffing, thanks to our contingency plan, and as the Mayor said, folks that are coming to work has been great. Right now, as I'm talking to you, there are four units out of service. I dare say that's fewer than on most days of any given year. We have had some understaffed units, but we've looked very carefully at these multiple alarms that occur each and every year when the weather gets cold. And the performance of our members has been fantastic. There had been no loss of life, fires go to multiple alarms for various reasons. Three of these we know, got up into the [inaudible] of buildings that are electrical in origin. But so far, we've been holding the line very well. We can thank our members for working very hard.
Mayor: And I want to give context. Dan, you said four units out of service, right?
Commissioner Nigro: That's correct.
Mayor: And a typical – just to help everyone understand – a typical year between maintenance, training, other types of needs, just on an average day, how many units would you say would be out of service typically?
Commissioner Nigro: Oh, we can have, generally, 20 units out of service training, etcetera. And that's fairly normal. And, again, I mention it every day, the New York City Fire Department has 350 units – engines, ladders, rescue squads. We're out there in force. So, even with 20 units out of service this department can manage a multiple number of multiple-alarm fires.
Mayor: And as we turn back to Dave to say, in fact, the point is with only four units out of service, that's much less actually than in normal times, if you will. Firehouses open, firefighters doing their jobs. I want to commend everyone at the Fire Department, starting with the Commissioner for the extraordinary work he's done. But also, Dave, some facts today – now the level of vaccination among firefighters has gone up. It is now at 79 percent. It has gone up another percent in the last 24 hours. EMS has also gone up another percent within the Fire Department Emergency Services. EMS is now at 90 percent vaccinated. So, even as people are continuing to have this discussion, the actual folks who do the work are making the decision to get vaccinated. That's powerful. Go ahead, Dave.
Question: My other question, it's kind of related, but a little bit different about Eric Adams. I don't know if you saw the video yesterday, but he was confronted outside Borough Hall by a lot of anti-vaxxers and anti-mandate folks. And he – it was kind of surprising because he was so able to diffuse, which was a very tense situation. He took five or six of the protesters inside, talked with them. They came outside afterwards and said they were pleased with what he had to say. I just wanted to ask you, in your years of knowing Eric Adams, is this the kind of thing that we can expect moving forward, that he can diffuse these, you know, these kinds of situations pretty quickly?
Mayor: Yeah, I think Eric's an extraordinary person and he – and I’ll call him Mayor-elect now. Our Mayor-elect is someone who has spent time on the front lines as a police officer. I think he does have an extraordinary ability to connect and communicate. I'm glad that that dialogue went well. But I also want to remind you, that group of folks, that group doesn't represent the vast, vast, vast majority of New Yorkers. And here's the latest number today. It's staggering. 86.5 percent of New York City adults, 86.5 percent, have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. So, I want to bring it back to the point that the vast majority of people in the city have made their decision and they support these mandates, and they want to see everyone vaccinated. And that's amazing.
Moderator: The next is Andrew Siff from WNBC.
Question: Hey, Mayor, good morning, and everyone on the call. Hope you're doing well.
Mayor: Andrew, how are you doing?
Question: Good. I wanted to ask about the kids' vaccines. Is there a threshold in your mind of what percentage of five to 11 get vaccinated that would bring you to recommend dropping the masks in school?
Mayor: That's a real interesting question, Andrew. Let me say this, I'm going to turn, of course, to Dr. Chokshi and Dr. Varma. They've been looking at this and, obviously, the CDC guidance. Now, Andrew, really important point, as we're pushing back COVID in this city and getting more and more people vaccinated, we're seeing better numbers around the boroughs. That's really good news. We do have the colder weather coming. That's a concern. So, you know, we cannot get ahead of ourselves here, but it's a great question, is there that point anytime soon? I would say my general view is, out of an abundance of caution, I would keep the masks in place at least in the short term, because they really worked and because the kids have adapted to them well, the adults have adapted to them well. But I’ll also say as an everyday person, you know, I look forward to the day when we don't need them. We just need to make sure we're absolutely certain that that's the right moment. Dr. Chokshi and then Dr. Varma.
Commissioner Chokshi: Thank you, sir. And I agree with you. You know, I would just underline the point that our precautions have worked. We've been able to keep schools safe with the layered approach to prevention that you've heard us talk about so many times now, not just masking but very importantly, vaccination and bringing to bear testing and distancing and ventilation as well. So, we have to, you know, resist the temptation to throw caution to the wind too quickly. We are bringing on board a very, very important additional layer of protection in vaccination for five- to 11-year-olds. But remember, it will take us some time for people to get to a fully vaccinated stage and to get a sufficient number of kids vaccinated. So, that will be our focus in the near term.
Mayor: Thank you. Dr. Varma, do you want to add?
Senior Advisor Jay Varma: Just to emphasize really what the Mayor has said. I mean, the reality is we all want, as public health professionals, to also go back to the day when we and our children don't have to wear masks and feel the way they did before the pandemic. But also, as Dr. Chokshi has noted, we're also very thankful that our measures to keep transmission controlled in schools has been working. And so, we do feel an obligation, I think, especially given the fact that there is a lot of uncertainty about what level of vaccination will make us all feel like we're back to normal. So, I think we're all ready to look forward to that day, but we're really not at a point right now to say that at any given percentage of vaccinations and then all of our current mitigation measures could be removed.
Mayor: Thank you. Go ahead, Andrew.
Question: Mayor, the reason I ask that is, we hear you almost every day say “once and for all,” but is there really that endgame where COVID becomes endemic, where it's like the flu and people will need shots every year. And possibly the masks stay a lot longer than they've been led to believe with words like “once and for all.”
Mayor: No, I do – I really buy into “once and for all,” and I'll tell you why. I think what you heard from Council Member Dinowitz is the kind of ideal that it's defeated so thoroughly that it becomes an afterthought. But I want to take the example of the flu because I think that's the realistic goal for next year. And this is something talked through with the health team. Look, the flu is a real part of life, and it comes with dangers, but thank God for the vast majority of people, it does not affect them. And the simple thing to do is get that flu shot and you're done. So, I believe it's quite possible to get COVID, by next year, to the place that the flu is now in our lives, where, yeah, you got to take a simple precaution, but it's an easy precaution and you don't need a mask. I think that's possible. That's what we need to fight for. If we want that, if people want that, if you like, what I just said, COVID effectively is the same reality as what we experienced with the flu year-in and year-out, go get vaccinated, get everyone in your life vaccinated because if we do that, we can get to that place. And that to me would be ending the COVID era because it wouldn't be dominating our lives. It wouldn't be dominating how we have to decide everything. We'd be able to go back to the freedom we had. Dr. Chokshi or Dr. Varma, do you want to add to that?
Commissioner Chokshi: Sir, I'll just briefly add to say that the key point is the last one that you made, which is the importance of vaccination and having it be as broad-based as possible. That's why, you know, beyond the individual benefits that being able to vaccinate our kids five to 11 brings for, of course, those children and their families, there is also a community benefit. We will, you know, hopefully by the spring of next year, see that even children under the age of five will also be able to get vaccinated and then we'll have a chance to say that we have true population-wide vaccination, which I do think will make a material and substantive difference in, you know, how we are seeing and dealing with COVID-19. At the same time, we have to acknowledge that, you know, this pandemic and this virus has humbled us time and again. And so, we have to, you know, follow the trajectory, understand what the situation is with new variants and adjust our approaches accordingly.
Mayor: Thank you, Dr. Varma, you want to add?
Senior Advisor Jay Varma: Yeah. And Andrew, you're hitting on a topic that you can see there's a lot of discourse on, in the media, online about, you know, what is the pandemic end game? What is the number that we need to focus on? And I think what Dr. Chokshi and I, and what the Mayor are all echoing is that, you know, we would love to be able to give a number. But what we've seen over time is that our ability to predict the course of the epidemic is just not nearly as good as we would like it to be. Some of that is due to changes in the virus. Some of that is due to behavior. Some of that is due to the natural process of us understanding and learning how the body's immune system has reacted to previous infection, to different vaccination regimens. I think we can say very safely that if we can get very high levels of vaccination coverage across the entire New York City population. So, that's from birth to the elderly, that we would be at a very different stage and very much in a situation very similar to the flu or other respiratory viruses. The real challenge remains what level below that is at a level where we, as a society can accept and tolerate it? And we just really are not at that level, either from science or I think from a public perception. And I think this huge advance that we have today of getting kids vaccinated is part of that discussion that's going to be both scientific as well as part of our popular discourse.
Mayor: Thank you. Go ahead.
Moderator: The next is Bob Henley from the Chief Leader.
Question: Yes. Mr. Mayor, I just, as a concurrent point just to update you, I'm sitting outside your office by the checkpoint. Council, I guess the Council side where I sit in the regular, where Rich Lamb used to sit, the signal degrades so much that we're like, I had to move over here to be able to ask you a question. And just also as a, I'm fortunate to be doing this long enough that my questions get taken but behalf of young people that might be in my business and my profession, I would ask you to consider returning to in-person so that young folks who you may not know have a chance to be involved in this very important process.
Mayor: Thanks, Bob. Go ahead.
Question: My question, for Commissioner Nigro, UFA President Andy Ansbro sent out what I could say was an impassioned address on video to his members, asking them to return to work and basically saying that it's very important. Did you see that message? And do you have anything to say to him after he put that message out?
Mayor: Commissioner Nigro, go ahead.
Commissioner Nigro: Yeah, I did see it. He said a lot of things in the message about what we're not doing. He said to his members that they should come back to work on overtime. I wish he would have added to that message, that those who are using medical leave, that he claimed wasn't happening, but also cease. The part about coming in on overtime, I thought was encouraging. We're seeing some drop in the medical leave. And we're seeing some folks coming in for overtime. So, it is helpful. But he certainly could join me in saying if you're sick, please be out sick. If you're not, please be at work. That's what we do.
Mayor: Amen. Go ahead, Bob.
Question: Yeah. So, switching gears to the Taxi Workers Alliance moment. I know that it's not, you don't want to speak ill of predecessors, but is it not true that the City of New York bears unique responsibility here? And we know from the reporting in the New York Times that the Bloomberg administration was aware of the financial disaster that was going to befall these people? We know also, that former members of the administration went to work for places like Uber. And so, I'm just now wondering if there does need to be a point taken, like a lesson learned that's articulated from the top, about what happens with captive regulators when a city government itself, with an eye towards revenue, doesn’t look at the long-term interest of the public? Which I see now with Senator Schumer, working with the Taxi Workers Alliance, you've been able to come up with the solution. But I do think you need to address the official role of the City had in this?
Mayor: Bob, I think I would first say the whole picture needs to be looked at. I don't think it has been. Very cynical things were done by lenders, very cynical for their own profit. And at the expense of the drivers. The lenders were supposed to be regulated by the federal government and the State government, that did not happen. That is a piece of this puzzle that needs to be addressed that has not been. I spoke to Congress Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about this who obviously prominently has challenged the lack of regulation of the financial industry. I think there's a big piece of why this happened, that hasn't been given the attention it deserves. In terms of the previous administration, they were free marketeers. Let's just be clear. I'll give him respect for believing in something, even though I disagree with the way they saw it. They were free marketeers. They were not in many ways willing to step in when the free market was not working for working people. And we – I tried in 2015. And I look back at this with real frustration. I tried in 2015 to put a cap on the for-hire vehicles. I wish the City Council had come with me because I think it would have staved off a lot of the worst of what happened. But to your point, it's fair to look back at all of the issues along the way, all of the things that could have been done differently. I do think you're right to say we should be very careful when people have an overly cozy relationship with the industries they're supposed to be regulating. But in the end, look, after a lot of hard work, we've gotten to something here that will actually improve the lives of these drivers and let them move forward. And that's the most important thing.
Moderator: The next is Jillian Jorgensen from NY1.
Question: Hey Mayor. Thanks for taking my questions. So, I wanted to ask about the school vaccine clinics that'll be rolling out next week? I think there was a little back and forth yesterday on what kind of consent would be required. So, I'm hoping that you can walk us through what level of parental consent is required? And if a parent or someone has to be there with the child, when this is happening? Are you concerned that that could make these sites a little bit less convenient for parents who maybe work during the school day? Can you just kind of walk us through that?
Mayor: Jillian, it's a great question. And I will tell you we're trying to confirm a little more with the State and our own Law Department to make sure everyone's on the same page here. Clearly for look. for a pediatrician – excuse me, for a parent or guardian who can go with their child. If a parent or guardian or family member can go with the child to the school for the vaccination, that's idea. Because it's 100 percent clear they're giving consent. But also just in terms of supporting the child, that's ideal. But you're right, some parents and guardians just can't do that. Written consent has been used historically. Verbal consent was an option. Clearly if we have to do both simultaneously, that's also an option, send in a written consent and we'll get the parent on the phone to confirm it. So, either way we'll make it work and we'll put out some more specific guidance later on today. But what I'd say is the best of all worlds is when a family member can come with the child. If not, we'll certainly have an alternative. Go ahead, Jillian.
Question: Thanks for that. And you know, just more broadly on the vaccines for children. I spoke to plenty of parents yesterday who were very eager about this, who were, you know, crashing their pediatricians’ websites to try to book their appointments, trying to snag a spot at Walgreens or whatever. And to that end, I'm just wondering how you feel about the amount of doses you have on hand? And the demand that there might be? Do you anticipate, I heard you say that walk-ins are welcome, are you anticipating having enough supply of the child size doses to meet that demand? Especially now that kids can get a hundred bucks, which buys a lot of candy?
Mayor: It buys a whole lot of candy. That's right. It's a great question. Let me say this, as a parent, I mean, I remember so vividly when my kids were younger and how we were just laser focused on their health. And, you know, over time you get a little more used to kids as they grow, taking a little more care of themselves. But when they're younger, parents are super, super focused on every little thing. And I've felt for a long time that the moment this was announced that parents would come rushing to get these vaccinations. I think we will see that. We've got so many sites. We're ready to go and we're ready to go in terms of supply. So, I'll let Dr Chokshi speak to the specifics. But we've got a whole lot of capacity ready. I do think we'll see a lot of parents. We may see some lines, but again, that could be a very good thing because it shows how many people want to get this vaccination for their children. Dr. Chokshi about the supply levels, what can you tell us?
Commissioner Chokshi: Thank you, sir. And the short answer is yes. We have a sufficient supply. We have enough doses in New York City of the pediatric vaccine to meet the anticipated demand. As you said, the first couple of days will be busy. And so, we encourage parents to seek out, you know, the various places where you can make an appointment. Whether it's your own pediatrician's office or a pharmacy or one of our City-sites. And the best way to do that is to go to nyc.gov/vaccinefinder, or 8-7-7-VAX-4-NYC. And we can help with some of that navigation. But we'll have over 300,000 doses, an estimated 330,000 doses that are either already in the city or will be arriving in the next few days. And so, we'll have enough vaccine to meet the demand.
Mayor: Thank you. Go ahead.
Moderator: The next is Marla Diamond from WCBS 880.
Mayor: Marla, can you hear us? Marla, you may be on mute. You may be on mute. Marla, Marla?
Moderator: We'll circle back to Marla.
Mayor: We’ll come back to Marla. Okay.
Moderator: The next is Jeff Mays from the New York Times.
Question: Hey, good morning, Mr. Mayor. Question about the pending Supreme Court Decision regarding New York's concealed carry gun law. I'm wondering, is the City doing anything to prepare for a decision that would strike down that conceal carry law?
Mayor: I'm real concerned, Jeff. It's an important question. Look, we don't know the final decision, but the indicators from the debate so far are not encouraging, certainly. It's a little surreal that we have justices of the Supreme Court suggesting that it would be great to have more and more people armed walking the streets of this city. And somehow that's a way to settle disputes and problems. I'm really worried. Now, we'll follow whatever law is ultimately determined. And we've got the strongest, most agile police force in the country and we'll work with it. But you know, this is not going to help. That's the bottom line. It's going to take a city that is moving forward now, coming out of COVID and fighting back gun violence. And it's only going to, in my view, potentially undermine the progress we're making. Go ahead, Jeff.
Question: A question you know, you, it seems like you've indicated or possibly are headed towards you know, making a run for governor. You know, Eric Adams was just elected and I guess the transition process will kick into gear more fully. I'm wondering if you know, running for governor in the last few months of your term, would that impede at all the sort of process of getting Eric Adams and his team and you know, his administrators up to speed in order to take control of the city on January 1st?
Mayor: Again, I am focused every day and I have these press conferences every day to go over everything that's being done to fight COVID. And to move the city forward. And I'm honored to take a lot of questions, more than the vast majority of chief executives take. And I have a team that's working every day, not only to finish this mission on COVID and the recovery of the city, but to prepare for a very positive handoff to the new administration. We will be putting a lot of time and energy into that. I've had a number of conversations with the Mayor-elect over recent weeks. We'll have a lot more. Our teams are talking constantly. We're going to have a very, very strong transition here. I'm absolutely certain of that.
Moderator: The next is James Ford from PIX 11.
Question: Hey, good morning, Mr. Mayor and everyone on the call.
Mayor: Good morning, James. How you doing?
Question: Great. Thanks for asking. Hope you're well.
Mayor: Indeed, good news. It's a good news day, James.
Question: Well, let's see if that continues once I ask the question. Let's start with one, please. The federal government has now set January 4th is the date on which companies with 100 or more employees have to ensure that all employees are vaccinated or get tested weekly. Here in this city with so many corporations of 100 or more, what is the City doing to help promote this being implemented? And how do you see the vaccination mandate that you adopted for City workers, perhaps having influenced this national mandate?
Mayor: James, it is so important that everyone move to vaccine mandates because they work. City workforce, now at 92 percent. I'm so proud of our City employees for stepping up and making the city safer. Again, adults in this city, 86.5 percent, at least one dose. I mean, these are amazing numbers. They’re, obviously, we've reached this level in large measure because we used these mandates the right way and decisively. I'm very proud of that. I do think it's helped to move the entire national discussion and help to show people that mandates work. And they can keep us safe and help us move forward to freedom, freedom beyond COVID. So, I think it is working and it is having an impact. It is having an influence. With the companies we're going to do everything we can to support them. But I would say what federal government did, that's what they believed was a good baseline. I would ask companies to go forward. My message to every CEO, full vaccine mandate. Go for the gold here. It works. It makes a profound impact. The more people who do it, the more people buy in. So, the CEOs of the city and this country could play a crucial role in ending COVID once and for all, go with a mandate and go as quickly as you can with a mandate for the good of all of us. Go ahead, James.
Question: Thank you. And on behalf of my colleague, Craig Treadway, back to the situation with yellow cab drivers. When they first went on hunger strike, you said that the debt relief deal that they'd gotten back then through the City Council was adequate for their needs. Now you've given credit today to Senator Schumer and Representative Ocasio-Cortez regarding the new deal the taxi drivers now have, but will you please talk about what changed for you? What caused you to change your mind about the previous, less generous deal that had been offered to them?
Mayor: It's a great question, James. Look, what we've put together, and again, it, it did win full support from the City Council and it was working because hundreds of drivers had bought into it and were getting debt relief, and we had 1,100 more who had already started applying and that number was going to grow and grow. It clearly was having a very positive impact, but I heard more and more, and I understood the drivers were saying they had been through so much and their situation was uncertain, they were looking for more relief, and I understood that, the how we got there was the problem. The original perspective, the original proposal from the drivers, we saw some real problems with, and some real challenges and particular exposure for the city. That could have been huge and unpredictable. And I have to watch out for the interest of all the people of this city. So, we had one proposal, which we saw problems with, even as well-intentioned, we had our own effort, which we knew was working, but I understood people were saying, can we do something more? And we were struggling, even though there was a dialogue, the dialogue wasn't resulting in any change. Senator Schumer came into the picture, and immediately, and there's a reason why he is a masterful engineer of the legislative process, he immediately identified some different options that I think everyone was missing honestly, different approaches. And he saw, I see he's back with us, so it's timing's impeccable. He saw that we could rethink both what the city had done and what the drivers were proposing and sort of find a third way, and when he put those ideas on the table to me, it immediately was clear to me, wait a minute, there is an entirely different way. Let's get everyone talking about that, and it turned out everyone agreed that that was a good path. So let me –
Senator Schumer: Let me - can I say something Mayor?
Mayor: Yeah. Yes, of course.
Senator Schumer: Yeah. So, look, the fundamental thing, even before I came into it is, the Mayor agreed that we should use some of the federal dollars we've gotten to help the cab drivers. He always wanted to help the cab drivers. The way that the original TLC folks proposed the cab drivers felt didn't do enough for them. I tended to agree with that. And what happened was, so they looked and looked and looked and came up with this backstop idea. Now the backstop couldn't just be approved by the city. It had to be approved by the lender to, whereas obviously they have real say and have some legal rights there. And so I called the Mayor and I said, look, there's a better alternative. All I want you to do is take a look at it. I think it's better for the city, better for the cab drivers, better for all of us. And he did. And he had, you know, Dean Fuleihan, who we've known for a long time, negotiate with my staff and the TWA, the taxi workers staff, and it took us only a couple of weeks to come to an agreement. So, what happened was that the backstop was – it was a hybrid. It was the backstop plus what the Mayor wanted put together, and it worked better than either one would've might've worked alone. Is that a fair statement, Mayor?
Mayor: I think you should pursue a career in government. I think you broke that down very nicely there.
Senator Schumer: You don't want me to do singing? You don't want me up on stage singing Beatles old hits?
Mayor: You ever heard of the phrase stick with your day job?
Senator Schumer: That's not a song. That's not a song that I know, stick what you're doing. Otherwise I have to sing it to you.
Mayor: Yeah, that’s right, but it is –
Senator Schumer: Any other question while I'm here, I'll have to go, but if you – if anyone, any of the people out there have questions for me on the taxi stuff, only on the taxi stuff –
Mayor: We have a couple more journalists coming up, let's see if they will – want to get you into this too.
Senator Schumer: Any taxi?
Mayor: Anything on taxis? Let's see. Who's next. Let's see if they have a taxi question.
Moderator: We do have time for two more for today. The next is Reema from Chalkbeat?
Mayor: Reema from Chalkbeat is going to be about schools. Hold on a sec. Do we have Marla? Just one second, if you can do that and see if Marla has a question?
Moderator: Marla has [inaudible] we lost her.
Mayor: We lost her. Does the next person have a question about taxis while we have the Senator?
Moderator: We'll try Reuvain from Hamodia.
Mayor: Let's see Reuvain has one, and then we'll go back to Reema in a moment. Reuvain, you there?
Question: Yeah. Hi, good morning, Mr. Mayor and Senator Schumer. Yes, I have a taxi question. So, the Mayor mentioned a moment ago that he believed this was a failure of the free market, and I'm not exactly sure, Mr. Mayor, how you can say that this. The reason the price of the medallions are so high is because the city artificially limited them. Anytime that you artificially limit something, the price will go up. If there was no limit on the number of medallions, the prices wouldn't have been so high. How can you say that this is a failure of the free market and therefore doesn't the city indeed bear responsibility of – for this crisis the taxi drivers are going through now?
Mayor: Nah, I'll give you my very quick answer and see if the Senator wants to speak to the bigger picture. I'm saying when the taxis, which have been such a crucial industry in this city, the ultimate example of the American dream, people drove a cab and were able to build a life from there. It's like a – it's literally a classic New York City story. When suddenly the taxis were confronted with a new competition, Uber, Lyft, et cetera, technology, we needed some limits and we needed some way of regulating that, which the previous administration was not willing to do. That's what I'm saying, Reuvain. That when that change occurred, it would have been smarter to protect all that we were depending on the existing industry while figuring out how to move to elements of the new industry. But remember Uber and Lyft tried to do things without waiting for government regulation, without getting consent from government, and I think that caused a lot of the problem, not only here, all over the world. So, that's my personal view. If Senator Schumer wants to speak to this issue –
Senator Schumer: You know, I mean, look, there are different models. Some cities have a model where, you know, just about anyone can be a taxi driver. And in some cities it's worked and in some cities it's not been as safe as it should be, the passengers are treated as well. So, there are different models. I don't think you, you know, you say that's a failure that New York City chose one model rather than the model of letting everybody drive, whoever wants to, in terms of safety, in terms of even where with all of the drivers.
Mayor: Go ahead, Reuvain. Anything else?
Question: Yeah, how does limiting something promote safety? I mean, the issue is we have the taxis, which artificially limited, and Uber which was not. So, of course it's cheaper for a driver to drive an Uber, instead of saying why add additional regulation to Uber? Why not say let's get rid of the regulation on taxis? If drivers love Uber so much [inaudible] taxis [inaudible] –
Mayor: Look, I'll be very quick and let the Senator in on this too. Look, I would caution and you may have just a different philosophy, Reuvain, I respect it if you do. I think for years and years, we had a safe taxi industry. We had a taxi industry that gave people incredible opportunity, and I'm a believer that when the government does ensure safety made sure that any industry treats its workers right, as well as its customers, that actually is a good model, and there's still plenty of opportunity for people to do business under that model. But I think some of the for hire vehicles tried to evade any kind of government regulation and I think that created real problems. Senator? we still have - Senator, you're on mute. Can you hear us?
Senator Schumer: I said I have nothing more to add, nothing more to add.
Mayor: Great, great. Okay. Senator, I know the next question is going to be about schools. So, I want to thank you again, really pivotal role you played here.
Senator Schumer: Thank you, Mayor. Thanks everybody for listening. Sorry, I had to leave for a while. Not much going on in DC as, you know.
Mayor: Yeah, it's very quiet. Very quiet. Take care now. All right. Now to Reema.
Moderator: Last question for today goes to Reema from Chalkbeat.
Question: Mr. Mayor and happy Diwali to everyone who celebrates. So, my first question is about – I noticed, you know, yesterday when the press release was actually released about the vaccine clinics, I know that there were those clinics that you guys did for kids who are ages 12 and older, the first week of school, and they could get their second dose at school if they got their first dose at school. But this time for the younger kids, I know staff is supposed to help families set up that second dose, but it says it's going to be at non-school locations, and I imagine if the families choosing the school to go to, that's probably the easiest place for them to go. So, can you explain why the second dose is won't be at the school?
Mayor: Yeah, I'll turn to Dr. Chokshi who has been deeply involved in this and is a parent and is married to an assistant principal. I think he brings a great perspective. I think, Reema, my layman's answer is we actually found parents preferred everything from a pediatrician office to a local clinic, to a local site that was set up by the city. Those seem to be a lot more popular, and so, you know, we want to make sure there is the option of school for this crucial moment, but I think it's fair to say the parents often chose other options. Dr. Chokshi, you want to fill out that answer?
Commissioner Chokshi: Well, that's exactly right, Mr. Mayor. And what we wanted to do particularly for this coming week is, we know there is so much demand for vaccination for five to 11-year-olds. We want to make sure that we broaden out our network as much as possible for people to get their first doses, you know, as quickly as they possibly can, and schools are a great site for us to be able to do that. But with that said, we do have a very robust network, pediatricians, pharmacies, our own city sites. And so we'll help people to navigate to get their second dose at a place that will remain convenient for them, and we can say that with confidence because of the breadth of network that we have for vaccination across New York City.
Mayor: Thank you. Go ahead, Reema.
Question: Yeah, just to follow up on that a little bit, I'm still a little unclear. So, are you saying that with the other clinics that you held that first week of school for older kids, ages 12 and up, did you like – did you find that people didn't come back for their second dose, or you know, what sort of happened that is informing what you're doing now?
Mayor: No, great question. I'll start, I'll turn to Dr. Chokshi. What we found was, although some parents liked it, it wasn't their go-to location, first dose or second dose. And so we're doing it this time because we want to certainly make it just as clear and easy for everyone to get this dose for their child. It's going to help create momentum around getting our five to 11-year-olds vaccinated. It sends a great message of, you know, giving people lots of different doors they can go through. But I think what we're going to see is the vast majority of parents where this first dose or a second does prefer a different location. If we see something different, we see people really indicating they prefer the school setting, we can always shift more opportunities, more resources that way. Dr. Chokshi, you want to finish that out?
Commissioner Chokshi: Thank you, sir. I'll just add that, we do find that some families like this option, but particularly for younger children, you know, we're expecting even more than what we saw for 12 to 17-year-olds that parents will want to go to places that they're already familiar with. You know, pediatricians, their pharmacies where they get their routine childhood immunizations. So, we want to have this no wrong door approach, you know, particularly for the early days to have multiple avenues for people to get vaccinated, but then ultimately, you know, we will rely on that infrastructure. I'll just give one other, you know, sort of piece of information, which is if you want specific information about a vaccine pop-up clinics in schools, visit schools.nyc.gov/COVID19. I'm really grateful to the Chancellor and our Department of Education partners for always helping us to reach as many kids as possible.
Mayor: Thank you so much, doctor, and everyone look, a good, good day. A good day because now we're going to reach our kids and there are going to be even safer because they're vaccinated. So, I want to encourage all the parents, all the guardians, all the family members out there, right now, make that appointment today, or go walk in, get your child vaccinated, will be great for your child, your family, your community, let's move forward. This is how we build a recovery for all of us. Thank you, everyone.